6 Ways Self-Publishing Authors Can Make Themselves Known Online
Self-publishing has come on leaps and bounds in the last couple of years. More and more self-starters are using their online reach to catapult their ideas into the mainstream, increasing creativity and diversity in publishing. In 2017, how successful your self-publishing empire becomes is really down to you and your commitment, but that doesn’t make the task of marketing yourself as an author any easier! If your masterpiece could be tipped to be the next bestseller, but no one knows anything about you and your work, take a look at some of these tips for marketing your ebooks online.
Invest in Consistent Cover Art
People judge books by their covers; it’s true. We know we shouldn’t, but sales have shown, especially within the self-publishing industry; that attractive covers do a better job of catching potential reader’s eye than plain or amateurish designs.
It’s worth your time and money in enlisting the help of an illustrator to create an image that readers will be intrigued by. Try to make your covers, titles and descriptions raise a specific emotional response within the reader. This will help you stay consistent in your branding and, more importantly, draw the reader into your story. Here are 5 ways to make your book cover a success.
The world of digital marketing is supremely visual. You can use your cover art to attract potential readers online — use them as part of your visual identity and include them in your social media graphics. If you are writing a book series, attractive and consistent visual art can help solidify your online brand as an author.
Invest in Major Ebook Selling Platforms
Getting your book on Amazon, and other platforms, is key to making a success of self-publishing and will be one of your core sales drivers. Get your title added to Amazon Kindle Direct right-away and then five out of every 90 days, your book will be put in a ‘free download’ promotion. During this time, you will want to promote your book as much as possible elsewhere.
The key goal here is to get people reading your book and writing reviews. Once a book starts to become popular, it will then start appearing in the ‘Also Bought’ stream. Soon your sales will continue to grow, with you doing little to actively promote your book yourself.
Combining selling on Amazon with an active social media feed is recommended — use social media to interact with readers and share positive reviews.
Join the Community
Creating a ‘buzz’ around your latest title requires a lot of legwork and can be boosted considerably with the help of others.
Take the time to find genre discussion groups on social media and offline, and don’t be afraid to explore platforms like musical.ly and Instagram, where vast numbers of potential readers hang out every day. In terms of relationship maintenance within your communities, always make sure you reply to everyone. Also, make sure you actively seek positive discussions with people in wider spheres to help spread your message even further.
For sites like Facebook and Twitter, you could also consider experimenting with some paid promotional posts. For a small, weekly budget you can target very specific reader demographics, who may be interested enough in your ad to click onto your listing and to take a closer look. When it comes to advertising, always focus on user (reader) benefits.
Give Away Freebies
If you’ve done your best to meet people and become more engaged with your writer community, consider giving away some free copies in exchange for a review or a mention on their website/blog. On sites like Amazon, many people rely on other people’s reviews before making book purchases, and if they see nothing there, they will quickly move along to the next title. Once you have established a bank of reviews on your book, move on to trying to secure a review from an influential writer. If they have a large following and they talk about your book in a positive light, highlight that review to your own fans.
You should also consider offering some book-related online freebies, like access to a Facebook group, or an exclusive digital download only available to people who’ve purchased the book. Gamifying the process of getting hold of your exclusive freebie can make the whole experience so much more enjoyable, and will help drive traffic to your website/blog/listing.
Sell Through Your Own Website
Having your own website makes sense — it can become the central online hub for your sales and branding efforts.
Start with a minimum viable product: a simple book website, with a few basic pages including a synopsis, author bio and contact page, builds trust with your readers (who may come through after browsing your ebook on another platform).
The next step is setting up a blog on your page and regularly sharing your insights on writing and self-publishing will help draw more supporters to your fan-base. With blogging, it’s important to be consistent rather than constant. If you can only manage to tear yourself away from fiction writing to post one blog post per week, it’s better than intermittent posts in varying lengths and quality. Mailing lists are another great way to spread the word in the beginning stages. Pull a few highlights from your blog and send a promotional email to your contacts.
To achieve longevity and take control of your own sales pipeline, why not set up an easy online store on your domain? Using readymade templates, you can have a professional and engaging store done in moments. Keep tweaking your store as your brand and readership matures.
Take a Multichannel Approach
The rise in video content platforms like YouTube is a phenomena that authors would do well to take note of. If your book takes on a theme in human relationships, creating a five minute discussion video of your views on the topic can be a great way to connect with your audience’s emotions and get them interested enough to read more of your work.
Similarly, you could also try researching other YouTubers talking about the same issues and making a rebuttal or review video of their ideas. For those who have explored Youtube as a creative platform, you will find that generating ad revenue from views is also potentially lucrative opportunity in itself. You will also be pleased to know that the level of technical equipment and editing skills needed to establish a popular channel is surprisingly minimal.
In self-publishing, marketing requires real time and effort in order to bring good results. Instead of seeing it as an ‘extra’, marketing should be at the core of your writing and publishing activities. Follow your passions, get involved in the wider conversation, and you can make marketing a fascinating and rewarding part of your writer profession.